I was so excited about turning 30.
While many of my friends were dreading this birthday (since for some ridiculous reason it denotes you’re now old and useless), I was counting down the days to my 30th and planning a weekend long celebration. I even created a vision board representing all the things I wanted to accomplish during this glorious decade.
My birthday came, my parties were fabulous and I got busy working on those goals.
Then something happened.
A few months ago I woke up utterly depressed about being in my 30s. And each day I felt more and more disheartened as I realized 31 was just around the corner.
What was going on with me? This wasn’t worry over wrinkles. I’m blessed with great genes (thanks, Mom) and I look much younger than I really am. I’m a live illustration of that old adage “Black don’t crack.” In gym clothes I’m often mistaken for a high school student. So running to the drug store to stock up on anti-aging creams was not the solution I needed.
One day I stood staring at my vision board and I burst into tears. After a nice, ugly cry I realized what was wrong with me. First of all, the goals on my list of lofty aspirations weren’t getting accomplished fast enough. And since I am 30 deep down, I feared I was running out of time.
Second, the life I imagined for my 30-year-old self when I was in my 20s looked nothing like the one I’m currently living. Most of the goals on my vision board are all those things I failed to achieve in my 20s. If I couldn’t do it then, I thought to myself, why do I think I can do it now?
Then I began to think back to why I was so excited about turning 30 in the first place. Yes, my 20s were adventurous and fun, but I was a mess. Life doesn’t become perfect at 30, but by then, you have a lot figured out. Though all your dreams haven’t come true, thanks to life experience, you have a pretty good idea of how to bring them to fruition. You know who you are, what you want and how to get it. Now it’s time to act.
In case you’re in an “OMG! I’m 30!” funk too, here are a few things that might help you get it together.
Ditch the deadlines. I had to let go of the unrealistic timeline I’d set for accomplishing my dreams. No, I’ll never be on one of those “30 Under 30” lists but that’s certainly no reason to throw in the towel.
Be thankful. Since I have such a love for lists I decided to make a few new ones. I made a list of all the things I have already accomplished and when I’m feeling down I pat myself on the back for those instead always dwelling on what I haven’t done yet. It’s important to be thankful for what we have and every day I’m grateful for things like my wonderful marriage, my master’s degree from UC Berkeley, and a stable income.
Celebrate the small stuff. I decided to take my daunting dreams and break them up into smaller, less intimidating goals and that I would rejoice over each tiny triumph.
What about you? Did you fall in a funk over turning 30? How’d you get over it? What are your aspirations for your 30s?